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The “War On Terror” In The Coming Presidency Of Hillary Clinton


By Garibaldi

A flashback to a scene from the early years of America’s “War on Terror” and how the US put the Muslim American community under a national microscope, pressuring it to police it’s own communities. Back then some Muslim institutions reacted to the pressure by creating campaigns to prevent radicalization and terrorism. Today the US government is doing the same through programs such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

The main talking point of a 2004 news conference by US Attorney General John Ashcroft was to tell the American public the not-so-earth-shattering news that “Alqaeda intends to attack the United States in the coming months.” Ashcroft shared photographs of seven people being sought in connection with terrorism investigations. CNN described another portion of Ashcroft’s address which focused on possible threats in these strange terms,

He also warned that terrorists may not have a typical look and that ‘the face of al Qaeda may be changing.’ Our intelligence confirms al Qaeda is seeking recruits who can portray themselves as Europeans,’ he said.” (emphasis mine)

The word “typical” in the CNN report is jarring, since it implies “terrorists” in general have a particular, predominant appearance, i.e. brown men with Middle East/Arab or Indo-Pakistani  features. This hearkens to the well-worn stereotypes discussed in works such as John Woods article “Imagining and Stereotyping Islam” and Edward Said’s book, “Covering Islam” among others.

America is being told, be on guard for anyone, it’s no longer safe to only be suspicious of the stereotypical brown looking terrorist, even your convert neighbor in suburbia could stealthily kill you. This of course means that converts to Islam are also under suspicion. This “diversified” representation of terrorists found its way onto TV dramas such as Sleeper Cell and more recently Homeland.

An important aspect to highlight from the Ashcroft news conference is that the seven who were described as “Wanted Alqaeda suspects at-large” were named by Khaled Shaikh Mohammed. Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, one of the professed planners behind 9/11 was extensively “waterboarded” (a torture technique) over 183 times in March 2003 (Terry, p.605). If the names of the seven were extracted under the duress of torture it adds an additional issue of the government using unreliable and tainted information to instill fear in the populace.

Tom Ridge, who was director of Homeland Security at the time stated that the “color-coded terror alert level” would not be raised. Later that year, for the only time, the terror alert level was raised, from yellow (elevated), to orange (high risk of terror attacks). The move was controversial as it was an election year and Democrats accused Republicans of raising the threat level for political reasons.

At the time, Tom Ridge towed the administration line and stated that the decision to raise the alert level had nothing to do with politics. However, in 2009 he revealed that he raised the alert level due to political pressure.

At the news conference the FBI director, Robert Mueller added that:

“We need the public, both in the United States and — I’ll emphasize — overseas to be on the lookout for these seven individuals. We want to know whether you’ve seen them in your communities, or that someone might be hiding them. If you have any idea where they might be, we need you to come forward.” (emphasis added) (CNN)

It was in this context and in response to these specific calls by the heads of government law enforcement agencies that MPAC decided to hold its own press conference announcing a national campaign to end terrorism.

MPAC was responding to a situation in which Muslim Americans were under intense scrutiny to prove they were loyal to the United States. Islamophobic narratives that are still common and widespread found ample breathing room in 2004. Maleiha Malek, quoting Field writes, “there has been an increased ‘tendency to criticize the inactivity of the Muslim population as a whole, and not just its leaders,’ arising from a belief that the ‘Muslim community had not done enough to prevent support in its midst.’” (Malik, Maleiha. Anti-Muslim Prejudice: Past and Present. London: Routledge, 2010. Print. p.146)

our-motto-is-when-they-go-low-we-go-high-5542974Fast-forwarding to today, when you analyze the track record of the Obama administration you see that he has continued and escalated the “War on Terror,” even if the language used to describe it has softened. Is it any wonder then that Homeland, a popular TV series, which plays on the simplified complex representation of Muslims, and the bifurcation of Muslims into the categories of either “good and bad” was at one time Obama’s favorite TV show?

The prevalence of Islamophobia, so fully on display during this presidential campaign season, is not simply a right-wing phenomenon. Obama administration-led initiatives, such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) are meant to co-opt Muslim communities and leaders into a program designed to sell war efforts while proclaiming to help Muslim Americans “fight radicalization.”

Arun Kundnani has shown that CVE is an outgrowth of the UK’s failed neo-con PREVENT program. It also has the contradictory effect of dangerously violating the ‘separation of religion and state,’ since the government is putting itself in the position of adjudicating what is “good, moderate Islam,” (Muslims uncritical or supportive of government policy) and “bad, radical Islam” (Muslims critical of government policies). (Spooked! How Not To Prevent Violent Extremism)

Relief from viewing the Muslim community and Islam through a politicized discourse revolving around ‘securitization’ will not be found in a Hillary Clinton presidency. Barack Obama’s presidency is going to be considered a honeymoon for Muslim Americans when hawkish Hillary takes over.

As indicated by troubling statements/positions by Bill Clinton and Hillary herself, Muslim Americans are accepted into the fabric of society on the condition that they offer their bodies and lives on the “frontlines” of the greater project to sustain American imperialism abroad and social control at home by policing their own communities.

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    • Khizer

      Yeah, I think he’ll follow his masters, he even backed off from building ‘THE WALL’ so I guess we can cut out hitleresque policies, he will just be another puppet, same old, same old.

    • Khizer

      Hope that he won’t make any discriminatory or moronic decisions, he is the president now, wishing he does something stupid is not productive. He is the pilot of the plane (America) now, wishing he crashes the plane is terrible, all Americans can do now is to be supportive of Trump (for now) until he makes a moronic decision that will cause the plane to plummet, then people should protest and greatly criticise him.

      Again I can’t properly describe it, the guy in the video from 1:42 onwards describes it better.

    • Khizer

      Though I was referring to his (Ethan, guy in the video) statement regarding how ALL Americans should hope/wish that Trump does a good job (emphasis on ‘hope’) instead of running towards Canada (which is like ‘jumping ship’), as Americans they should realise that he was democraticly elected, fair and square, and hence protesting his election is basically protesting against democracy itself (something the U.S prides itself in).

      I wanted to know your thoughts on the video from 1:42 to 8:12, if you can ignore the foul language, as there are some good points made. Since your American I wanted to know your thoughts on this guy’s statements, since i am not American, I guess I don’t get the big picture and the divisiveness of this American election amongst Americans.

    • Khizer

      Okay, though I do wish you can reply about the videos and BLM itself, when you have the time though. I would really like to know what is up with the fierce dislike of BLM (atleast online).

    • Mehdi

      We’re in this together, hang on, fight on and don’t lose the faith. But we all feel dizzy, our hearts are with you guys and all the minorities in the US. Never thought this would all have been possible (and despite never liking Hillary Clinton at all in the first place). All the best.

    • Awesome

      Before election night, I was saddened by the fact that the country that prides itself so much for its democracy could only muster up these two clowns. On one side you have a sadistic loser like Trump. On the other side you had a very corrupt Clinton, who many years ago, could not even beat an unknown black man with a Muslim sounding name.

      The bigoted, egotistical celebrity businessman vs. the war-mongering Wall Street mafia queen – there is no positive outcome to that, and the sad fact is that those who seek power tend to be the very people who should never have it.

    • Awesome

      You see how well that worked out.

      The result doesn’t surprise me. Trump won only because his opponent was Clinton, who a lot of people disliked more than they supported him. Had his opponent been someone like Bernie Sanders, who had much stronger support, then Trump probably would have lost.

    • George Carty

      How likely do you think it is that Republicans stole the election through their voter suppression efforts in non-white areas?

    • Joey Sanders

      I am hoping Loonwatch posts something about the election separately, so we can comment in that thread. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just title it, “Election: Reaction”.

    • Joey Sanders

      Horrifying? I’ll have a wait and see attitude on that. I am hoping you are wrong, but you, probably, won’t be.

      Before election night, I was saddened by the fact that the country that prides itself so much for its democracy could only muster up these two clowns. On one side you have a sadistic loser like Trump. On the other side you had a very corrupt Clinton, who many years ago, could not even beat an unknown black man with a Muslim sounding name.

      By the way, Hillary lost this election more than Trump won it. Trump garnered less votes than Romney’s campaign four years ago. Many people just refused to come out for Hillary. Who? It was Blacks, Latinos and millenniums. Many stayed at home and refused to support her and Hillary never sought them out.

      Hillary really does not have credibility when it comes to her saying she is for woman. She is with a man who has treated woman like sex objects too. That is why Trump’s “locker room” comments did not hurt him.

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      I would have voted for Hillary if I was in a swing state for the same reason Chomsky noted.

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      Thank you!

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      As a people we need to organize. This country needs a radical change to the deeply corrupt and broken system.

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      In my defense this was written before the FBI Comey coup against the Democrats. Trump’s foreign policy is to me pretty obvious.

    • Dizzyofmay

      Note: Though I am treated as logged in for the purpose of verbal posts, when I try to post a picture, it denies me as not logged in.

    • Dizzyofmay

      You see how well that worked out.

    • Dizzyofmay

      They are also proposing to dox people, and to troll and harass them into suicide. So much for “both sides do it”.

    • Joey Sanders

      Hillary didn’t make it. Now do an article about the War on Terror with Trump as president.

    • (((Reynardine)))


    • JD

      This has bad language but I follow this every year and works for me

    • Just_Stopping_By

      Fascinating article. I really like the perspective of looking forward rather than just trying to relitigate the past. There’s obviously nothing wrong with historical inquiry, but I think that thinking ahead and planning for the future are generally more useful to achieve actual progress.

      A few additional points: Why do we continually hear that Muslim Americans “must” police themselves without the acknowledgement that they do so (just as other groups do)? “Since 9/11, 54 Muslim-American terrorism suspects and perpetrators were brought to theattention of law enforcement by members of the Muslim-American community, out of 188 individuals where the initial tip was made public.”

      Also, co-authored by the same author: “Law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face.” (In fact, the ratio is roughly 2:1 in favor of anti-government extremism while environmental extremism is a close third to Al-Qaeda inspired extremism: 74%-39%-33%, with law enforcement obviously allowed to choose more than one category explaining why the figures add to more than 100%.

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